Archive for the ‘Thermal Images’ Category


We have decided to take a look at how the extruder of a FDM/FFM 3D printer looks like in terms of temperature when seen through a thermal camera. Normally 3D printers that extrude thermoplastic materials used as their filament material operate with a temperature of their extrusion nozzles in the range of about 200-250 degrees Celsius, though some materials may work with a bit lower or higher temperatures. The thermal image above shows the extruder of a MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer heating up to 230 degrees Celsius and getting ready to start printing with PLA thermoplastic material. The reported temperature by the printer is about 200 degrees Celsius at the time of taking the thermal image and the thermal camera shows about 165 degrees Celsius on the outside of the aluminum heating block where the heater cartridge is placed and to which the printer nozzle is directly attached. The temperature detected by the thermal camera is a bit lower than that of the 3D printer’s thermal sensor due to the fact that the aluminum heating block is covered with ceramic thermal insulation and taped over with Kapton tape, so the external temperature over the insulation is expected to be a bit lower.


NiMH rechargeable batteries has been available for quite a while and are something very common in our life with a lot of low power gadgets such as remote controls for example relying on them. Recharging NiMH batteries is interesting because they do have an interesting feature, namely that they start to get hot when they are fully charged. The reason for that is actually quite simple, when the NiMH battery cannot store more charge it starts dissipating the extra power as heat. So when you touch a battery that is inside a charger and it feels hot it is most likely charged or will soon be charged, so no wonder that some chargers for NiMH batteries actually use the temperature of the batteries to decide if they are charged already or at least have temperature sensors as a safety measure. If you are charging the batteries with a low rate they will manage to dissipate the extra heat, but if you try to push them with lets say 1 Amp or 2 Amps of power and if the charger does not stop the charge if batteries start getting hot, then you might be facing problems that may even include a fire. On the thermal image above you can see two smart NiMH battery chargers that are charging AA size rechargeable batteries, the two hot sports on the sides of each charger are apparently the power elements that are responsible in providing power to the batteries while they are being recharged. The batteries on the left are about half charged and these in the charger on the right are almost fully charged and their surface temperature is slightly higher


Taking a thermal image of a standard computer keyboard may not be very interesting thing as these are normally very low power devices that use the computer’s USB port for the needed power and communication with the PC. If we take a look at a high-end gaming keyboard like the Logitech G19 keyboard designed for gamers however things might get a bit more interesting in terms of temperature of the devices. So we took a thermal image of a G19 keyboard after an hour of it being powered on, enough to have some parts of the keyboard get hotter than the rest of it. As expected the LCD display on the keyboard does get hotter and you can also see a spot on the top right side of the Logitech also getting hotter – this is where the keyboard controller apparently is located, so it is normal that this area also gets hotter over time. One thing that is interesting with keyboards and thermal imaging is if you can guess a password that was entered on the keyboard by the eat signature left on the keys by pressing them with hotter fingers. This thing however is something that we are going to explore later on, so stay tuned for more details about that.